Europe, with its diverse landscapes, rich history, and cycling-friendly culture offers an abundance of incredible road cycling destinations. From picturesque coastal routes to challenging mountain ascents, Europe has something to offer every avid cyclist – road or off-road, racer or leisure biker. With all that said, the choice can be overwhelming. We are here to take you through some of the best places to go road cycling in Europe. We will talk you through the best places for stunning scenery, challenging roads, and figure out where the best (and worst) coffee is.
The French Alps
When it comes to road cycling, the French Alps reign supreme. Home to legendary climbs like Alpe d’Huez, Col du Galibier, and Mont Ventoux, this region offers challenging terrain and breathtaking vistas. Whether you’re a professional cyclist or a passionate amateur, conquering these iconic mountain passes will leave you with an indelible sense of accomplishment. The main beauty in long climbs is the associated long descents. My advice would be to head to climbs used in the previous year’s Tour de France for the best descending roads. Finally, be sure to order a tartiflette post ride – this alpine meal of cheese, potatoes and cream is sure to have you refuelled for the next day. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, consider the other side of the alps instead and take a tip to Italy as the coffee in France leaves a lot to be desired…
Picture yourself pedalling through rolling hills adorned with vineyards and olive groves, passing quaint mediaeval towns along the way. That’s the beauty of cycling in Tuscany. The region’s gentle terrain, combined with its rich cultural heritage and delectable cuisine, creates an unforgettable experience for any cyclist. It would be remiss to mention Tuscany without bringing up Strade Bianche – the most beautiful cycling race on the calendar. The incredible white gravel roads can be tackled with a road bike or gravel bike and riding them yourself will give you a serious idea of how hard the terrain is! Let’s not forget the coffee either – it simply doesn’t get better than a mid ride Italian espresso in the sun.
Mallorca, the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands, is a cyclist’s paradise. With its sunny Mediterranean climate, diverse landscapes, and well-maintained roads, it has become a favourite training destination for professional cycling teams and triathletes during the period of January to March. From exhilarating coastal routes to challenging mountain climbs, Mallorca offers a wide range of options for cyclists of all levels. Mallorca has a lot to offer away from the bike too – with the narrow road of historic central Palma and the incredible sandy beaches there’s something for everyone.
The Dalmation Coast, Croatia
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast boasts a unique combination of crystal-clear waters, rugged cliffs, and ancient towns. This enchanting region offers a blend of coastal roads and mountainous terrain, making it ideal for road cycling adventures. Explore the stunning islands, pedal along scenic coastal routes, and discover the cultural treasures that make this area so special. If you want to spice a trip here up a little more, you can even get the train to Split from London and combine a bit of bike touring with some interrailing.
The Scottish Highlands
For those seeking a wild and rugged cycling experience, the Scottish Highlands deliver in abundance. Imagine riding through vast landscapes of lochs, mountains, and heather-clad moors, with the occasional sighting of a Highland cow or red deer. The quiet roads and challenging climbs of this untamed region offer a thrilling adventure for nature-loving cyclists. For those of you keen on bikepacking, you can always take to the North Coast 500 route starting and finishing at Inverness Castle. Either tackle it in one ride if you’ve got a screw loose or enjoy a lovely week to ten days of bike packing – whatever floats your boat…
The Black Forest, Germany
Renowned for its dense forests, charming villages and cake, the Black Forest in Germany is a cyclist’s dream. Pedal through the enchanting landscapes of this picturesque region, following well-marked cycling paths and exploring the famous B500 (km) route. Immerse yourself in the fairytale-like surroundings while enjoying some of the best Black Forest gateau you’ll ever taste. The scenery in Germany is often underrated as is the size of it. As a result of the country’s fantastic geography, the Black Forest is by no means the only great part of Germany to ride a bike!
The ring of Kerry, Ireland
In Ireland’s southwest, the Ring of Kerry offers a mesmerising road cycling experience. This iconic 180-kilometre route takes you through breathtaking coastal scenery, charming villages, and historic sites. From the rugged cliffs of Skellig Michael to the tranquil lakes of Killarney National Park, the Ring of Kerry is a true gem. It can be ridden in a day or over two and when you’ve finished there’s a nice Guinness waiting for you in one of Ireland’s lovely pubs. After cycling, why not book a fishing trip and catch yourself some fresh Irish Haddock for dinner…
The Fjords of Norway
Last but not least, Norway’s fjords, with their majestic beauty and dramatic landscapes, provide an unforgettable backdrop for road cycling adventures. Luke Rowe of Team Ineos described Norway as “The most breathtaking country he’s raced in” and it’s fair to say Norway, despite the mixed weather, has a decent share of the world’s natural beauty. Navigate the winding roads that hug the coastline, surrounded by towering mountains and cascading waterfalls. Discover the thrill of conquering the challenging ascents while basking in the tranquillity of the pristine Norwegian wilderness. On top of this, it’s probably one of the safest places on planet Earth – so you won’t have to worry too much about your bike going missing.
Europe offers an incredible array of road cycling destinations that cater to all levels of cyclists. From the iconic climbs of the French Alps to the scenic coastal routes of Mallorca, each destination has its unique charm and allure. For UK based cyclists, it’s all easily accessible too! Whether you seek challenging mountain ascents, picturesque countryside rides, or coastal adventures, Europe has it all. So, dust off your bike, plan your route, and get yourself ready for your road cycling journey through the heart of this diverse and captivating continent. Don’t forget, Pedalcover offer comprehensive cycle travel insurance and bicycle insurance designed to cover you against emergency medical expenses, crash damage and theft anywhere in the world. for any further queries, just give us a call on 0800 121 4424